Leadership: Simon Sinek and other musings

Everyone talks about leadership, about doing the right thing and being an example for people to follow. Have a vision and chant it as many times as needed and your people/workers will definitely follow suit. After all, you are paying them so they should.

Simon Sinek, this management guru, asked how would leaders react if it had been one of their children instead? Would you simply try getting rid of them? I don’t think so. I have been watching quite a few of his videos and the comments are filled with people complaining of bad bosses, some say it’s not achievable (these are probably the disillusioned or the bad bosses themselves) and it makes you wonder how many people actually enjoy what they do and going to work.

I agree with many of his points, but I feel it all falls flat when it comes to some leaders. They have the rank and the position to make change, but may not necessarily have the authenticity in their words and actions which make you want to believe them, what more truly strive for them. I’m sure some are capable and do want change, which makes it great that personalities like Simon Sinek and Anthony Robbins are around, but some leaders may not ever want to change, more so if it’s uncomfortable for them. They are also less likely to keep up some changes for long. They talk about innovation and doing the next big thing but are unlikely to put in what’s needed to get it going. Despite their often first noble intentions.

“The best ideas are the honest ones. Ones born out of personal experience. Ones that originated to help a few and ended up helping many.”

With the politician and leaders in organizations, it’s a bit more serious because it goes beyond several minutes of your time and clicks of your mouse. No, it has to do with real money that you have to work hard for, it takes plastic smiles when you do not agree because if you showcase it, you may just get a warning letter from the harsh ones. That feeling of being held to ransom would eat at anyone and many people would try to keep their head down because they would not want their rice bowl affected.

I suppose these politicians and leaders would try to justify their behaviors with “It’s top-down pressure”, “The client is always right”, “Do first, talk later”, “We are pressed for time”, “I tried all I can, but that person simply chose not to perform” and so on, but if you really want your people to succeed and give you their best, it goes beyond powerpoint slides of your business vision and goals. It goes beyond your speeches and townhall lectures (which are often compulsory and are namely one-way communication methods). Ironically, it takes something that is really basic: being a decent human being but they often think they are entitled to behave like assholes.

I have seen how it is really difficult for people to trust a leader once that trust has been betrayed. Though it may not have happened directly to them, they still have eyes that see and the brains to form opinions as to what happened.

“Accountability is hard. Blame is easy. One builds trust the other destroys it.”

I have come across some leaders who were really caring and appreciated how genuine they were. They did not have to be the kindest or doormats, but you could see how they would mean what they say and look out for you. Although you would sometimes question their decisions, it was also easier to have faith in those decisions and what they would ask for you. Because if you failed, you would fail together and if you succeed, you would succeed together. There was no “chucking someone else under the bus” and it was inspiring how humble they were, despite how capable they were.

They would challenge and push you but would not give you so much sh*t if you did something wrong and that is really important in the overall scheme. When trying something different or new, there are bound to be hiccups so would you prefer someone trying to cover it up because they are scared to tell you or someone who would be honest and you can try fixing it together?

“Strong leaders earn loyalty. Weak leaders demand it.”

The funny thing about having such an experience is that when you have your next boss behaving like an a**hole, you become less likely to take it. You remember what you had and realize “Hey, this sh*t is unnecessary”. You may need the job for then, but you would also give staying in such a situation for long some real thought. It may seem like basic maths, but you still have many organizations and leaders wondering why their people leave or assume the fallacy that those who leave can always be replaced. It’s ironic that they gun for the top position, the most market share, yet keep losing their “engine parts” along the way. These leaders also would maybe keep reading management books, going for training, but in the end, it boils down to the same. It would take that much longer to get to the top because they would always have to fill in some holes or the other.

Interesting, isn’t it? People who often think of the quickest way to get somewhere, who put themselves first, often end up being the last getting there. They would also probably end up feeling very lonely when they do get to the top.

It’s better to go slowly in the right direction than go speeding off in the wrong direction.”

Anyway, these are just my thoughts and are not about anything and anyone in my life.

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